Page last updated at 17:58 GMT, Thursday, 30 October 2008

Another record profit for Exxon

Exxon sign
Exxon has made the highest ever quarterly profit by a US company

Exxon Mobil made a profit of $14.83bn (8.97bn) between July and September, smashing its own record for the highest quarterly profit by a US company.

In the second quarter this year, when oil prices were still rising, the oil giant made a profit of $11.68bn.

The new record represents a 58% rise on profits compared with the same period last year.

Profit for the first nine months of this year was $37.4bn, up 29% on the same period last year.

The $1.6bn sale of a natural gas transportation business in Germany helped boost profits.

Rex W Tillerson, chief executive of the company, said: "Exxon Mobil's strong results demonstrate the continued success of our disciplined business approach."

Stormy conditions

The profits could have been even higher, had it not been for falling oil prices and extreme weather.

Oil prices fell again on Thursday as the US said its economy slowed in the third quarter. Light, sweet crude for December delivery fell $1.91 to $65.59 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Hurricanes Gustav and Ike earlier this autumn affected Exxon's Gulf Coast operations and resulted in an increase of $50m in pre-tax costs. Exxon estimates that the impact of both hurricanes will reduce fourth-quarter earnings by about $500m.

Massive profits have allowed Exxon to invest heavily in exploration. In the third quarter, capital and exploration project spending increased to $6.9bn, up 26% on the same period last year.

They have also allowed Exxon to distribute significant cash to shareholders - it paid out $2.1bn in dividends over the quarter.

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